How to Dye Your Bleached Hair Back to Natural

After spending the summer with bleached hair, I got tired of the (painful) maintenance and was ready to go back to my natural light brown. My hair stylist told me not to do it on my own, but I still made a sad first attempt at dying my hair back to natural.

Now that I’ve achieved my desired result, I’m convinced I could do it right again if I tried. I can’t speak about going from bleached blonde to another light blonde, but if you’re going for dark blonde or darker, you can try this method:

Materials:

When you’re dying bleached hair, you’re working with hair that has been stripped of all color. As a result, using a box dye on top of bleached hair usually turns out green. To counteract this, prepare your hair with a semi-permanent, ammonia-free hair dye in a light reddish color. I chose Clairol Natural Instincts Spiced Tea. This step is giving some strength and color back to your hair without further damaging it with chemicals. After this step, your hair will look something like this: bad credit personal installment loans

Color after applying ammonia-free dye
Now your hair is ready to dye it the color you want to dye it. Use a permanent hair dye in your chosen color, but I would still avoid “cool” or “ash” colors so it doesn’t turn out green. I used Clairol Nice N Easy Natural Lightest Brown. Following the directions on the box, I ended up with my color!

I found that the color started to fade pretty fast after a month, but I’ve let my hair end up looking like a gradient. Otherwise, I could touch up the color every other month with a semi-permanent ammonia-free dye in the color I want to keep it fresh. Using a color-safe shampoo (or no shampoo!), cool water, moisturizing your hair, and keeping your hair out of the sun can help protect your hair color.

181 Comments

  • joelle

    how come no has told you youre a saint yet? ive been looking for a way to go back to my natural darker blonde from bleached without spending 150$ at a hair salon forevaaaah thank you.

    • Christy

      Hope it goes well, Joelle! Some people are afraid to take risks with their hair… I just know I’ll have to rock whatever I end up with =) Love the DIY spirit!

    • Barbara

      I wish i had checked here first before I made this attempt myself! I used a pernanent color,golden light blonde to try to tone down the reallly light blonde i had…my natural color is med.brown with reddish hues..my roots were about 2″ grown out..so,lets just say my roots look great but the blonde damaged hair not so much. Dang it! I will probably have to wait to try to keep fixing it…but i will be trying the amonia free stuff next..tyvm..

  • Sylvie

    Do you think I run the risk of green if I dye my professionally done blonde hair with dark brown roots? I sort of want to go some lightish brown and would prefer to DIY it since the cost of professional is getting out of hand

    • Christy

      Hi, Sylvie! It depends on how light your blonde hair is. If most of the color has been stripped from it, I would definitely dye your hair with a light red ammonia-free dye first (like Clairol Natural Instincts). It strengthens your hair and is important for avoiding the green. Either way, make sure the light brown you choose is either neutral or warm in color (definitely not ash!!) to help compensate for the color that’s been taken out of your hair.

  • Rahme

    Hey Christy! So i’m sitting here with the box dyes in my hand, comtemplating whether or not I should risk it- your method seems to be solid, but I’m skeptical about the brown color I have- it’s “Light Golden Brown” and i’m wondering it it’ll have an orange effect on the red since it has a yellow undertone… any advice??

    ps. the reddish dye I have is a Copper Carnation color “/

    • Christy

      Hi Rahme! You’re much better off with a Golden Brown than an Ash Brown. I don’t think your hair will turn out orange–if anything, it should be a little less golden than you would have gotten with a non-bleached base. The first round of red you do is just prepping hair to have the full spectrum of color underneath the second dye you use. However, if you don’t want golden at all, you could get a neutral brown. Good luck!

  • Kimberly

    Christy, Your insight is a blessing! I have a ?
    My 13 Yr Old used peroxide on her hair ( without my knowledge…until I kept seeing it get blonder! ) Now she has roots ( AND REGRET!…. ) She wants to return to her Medium Brown color again ( and NOT use her allowance $$$ for a Salon bill…any advice?
    Thanks, Kimberly

    • Christy

      Hi Kimberly,
      Gotta love a creative teenager =) It depends on how much color is left in her hair. If it’s pretty stripped, she should do the two-step process: First dye with an ammonia-free red (like Natural Instincts Spiced Tea) and then dye with a neutral medium-brown permanent dye of her choice. If her hair is already orange-y and not too light, she could go straight to the brown dye. I recommend doing the 2-step process with the reddish dye first because it’s less than $10 to ensure that her hair won’t turn green with the brown dye. Good luck!

  • Kerrie

    A friend of mine dyed my hair from light brown and blonde highlights to blonde and my highlights didnt take and now my hair is blonde, brassy orange and light brown I want to know what do I use to dye my hair back to my natural color which is light brown??

  • cathy

    Hi Christy you are saint!!! i am so fed up with this blond i wanted to be a natural looking blonde, (not platinum) and i bleached it and guess what I’m yellow hair freak, well i tried to fix it with a demi color a neutral level 8 blonde and it turn slightly green, my husband can’t stop making fun of my hair, it’s terrible, and talk about the damage it has well yesterday we went to the beach and it turn much more greener i am so tired of this, i don’t get why i couldn’t get to that beautiful blonde i wanted, (maybe it’s not for me), oh well thanks for your advice and i can’t wait to get my beautiful light brown back!! anybody who wants to bleached their hair should really think about it, because to me it was a disaster!!

  • Claire

    I’m hoping this will work for me… My hair was lightened with Manic Panic flash lightener, and then I dyed it pink. I want to stop lightening my hair, and go back to my natural color on the top (I’m usually an… Ashy light brown, I guess), but keep the bottom pink, and just stop lightening. Do you think I’d be able to achieve this? Thanks for the advice!

    • Christy

      Hi Claire! So you’re looking to dye some of your hair back to natural? Or are you just going to let your roots grow in (I grow almost .5 inches a month)? If you’re looking to dye some of it back to natural, I’d clip foil on the bottoms of your hair that you’re looking to preserve, and then do the reddish dye and then light brown over it. Good luck!

    • Carrie

      hi christy, i dyed my hair with a normal hair dye thing a blonde color and it only colored like the top of my hair so then i tried bleaching it and it is way uneven so i tried bleaching it again and it really didnt change it i really would like to get it back to brown or a reddish color but idk what to do! help!

  • Thank you so so much for this!! I attempted bleach by myself after dying my blonde hair dark and then getting the summer blonde vibe again lol I now have beautiful yellow orange hair which is very very not a good look for me…especially since I am a teacher…I look anything but professional. I went and got the same dyes as you although I got a semi perm brown as I am a plonker and didn’t notice it is supposed to be perm. Thank you again!! I will let you know how it goes :)

    • Christy

      Hi Kirstabelle,
      Good luck with the dye! It’s possible that the semi-permanent brown won’t be thick enough to darken your hair after the red–you may want to return it and buy a permanent color instead. Do you teach young kids? They’d probably like the offbeat color… =)

  • Carrie

    i’m going to try your advice my moms stopping to get the semi permanent ammonia free hair dye now after i do that how long should i wait to dye it the color i want? im thinking i wanna do a reddish like auburn color

    • Christy

      Hi Carrie,
      For the semi-permanent dye, you can do it right away. It’s ammonia-free, so it won’t do any more damage to your hair. Actually, the dye will fill in the strands of your hair, so it should strengthen it! This step will only turn your hair a light pinkish color. I waited a few weeks between the ammonia-free and the permanent dye (because I liked the pink!), but you could try doing it the same day if you need to. I might hold out a couple days if you’re able. When you’re ready, choose whatever reddish color you’re looking for in a permanent dye.
      After you’re done, you may want to try conditioning your hair with coconut oil once a week to repair some of the bleaching damage. I use food-grade coconut oil, and soak the bottom of my hair a couple of hours before showering. Wash it out (you may need to shampoo twice) and your hair should start feeling softer & stronger.

  • will this work if i want my hair a dark auburn?

    • Christy

      Hi Sam,
      Yes! First use the reddish ammonia-free dye, and then go ahead and dye your hair the auburn color you want with a permanent dye. It might turn out a little less red than you’re looking for, so if you’re deciding between two dyes, choose the redder one =)

  • My hair is naturally light brown. I wanted to go blond. The salon I went to put highlights in my hair which is not what I wanted so she washed them out. Then she did light wash or something like that starting at my scalp so the top of it is lighter than the bottom. It burned SO BAD from the highlights I guess…Anyways, my hair is now copper and yellow. It looks horrible and I want to dye it dark brown. Is that possible?

    • Christy

      Hi Mary! You should be fine to dye your hair dark brown right over the light wash. Since there’s still color left in your hair, you’re fine to go straight to the dark brown, but I wouldn’t choose a cool or ash color. I personally prefer to use the ammonia-free semi-permanent dye because it does less damage and it fades a bit over time, so your roots don’t stand out as much.

  • April

    Hey christy!! I bleached my hair about 2 weeks ago… My hair right now is kinda a coper/dark blonde then my roots are yellow/real blonde… My natural hair color is dark brown almost black. And want to go back to natural. I have in my bathroom clairol natural instincts midnight black…. Will this work for me?..
    if u need to see a pic i can send u one so u know what i mean… Also my black roots are already showing threw…

    • Christy

      Hi, April! Wow, you got your roots blonde from dark brown? That must have taken a lot of work! My hairstylist told me that usually your roots process faster than the rest of your hair because they’re closest to a heat source–your head! Kinda funny. Anyway… I’ve used that Midnight Black dye before, and it’s pretty powerful. I do think that you’d be good to only use it, but it may fade in a few weeks, and some of that light stuff could show through again. If you’re wanting a quick fix, go ahead and do it now. Otherwise, I’d recommend using a permanent dye to cover up the bleach. You can still do the permanent dye in a few weeks if the Natural Instincts start to fade. Also, I’d recommend soaking your hair in coconut oil for an hour or so before you shower once a week if your hair is feeling brittle after bleaching. Good luck!

  • Hey Christy,
    Just had a colour disaster. My hair is light brown and I haven’t coloured or bleached it for two years. I got fed up with mousy brown and decided to do home job and apply some blond stripes to my hair. Followed the instructions, I am left with multi coloured her with dark roots and where my bleached strands came into contact with the rest of my hair, it had also lightened the rest.
    I don’t like it and would prefer going back to light brown. Can I use the same instructions as you have suggested?

    • Christy

      Hi Lucie,

      Sorry the highlights didn’t work out for you–but I still think it’s great you went for it yourself! Taking risks and trying things out is always a good learning experience, even if you’re not happy with out it turns out. I actually wouldn’t recommend the reddish semi-permanent dye since you only did streaks. If you’re looking to simply “undo” the work you just did, your best bet is to go over all of your hair with a permanent dye (in my case, I used Clairol Nice N Easy) that’s very close to your natural hair color. If you still want to attempt at something a little different, you could try using a semi-permanent dye (Clairol Natural Instincts) in a color one shade lighter than your hair, and maybe a gold or a red tone (if that’s what you’re going for). What that will do is brighten up your natural color hair and also slightly darken the highlights. Because the semi-permanent dye is ammonia-free, you could try the semi-permanent dye first to see if you like it. If you’re really not into the whole thing, you can just dye over it with the permanent dye in your natural color. Never stop experimenting!

  • Hi! I wish I had followed your advice but the Sally’s ladies talked me out of it… :/ I had (until 2 days ago) long white platinum blonde hair but it was breaking and very damaged. I wanted to go closer to my natural color (dark golden blonde). The beauty supply ladies suggested a 8N Demi Natural Blonde (Wella). I had to dye it twice since the first time was very ashy. Now my roots are kind of brassy/dark and the length is a little ashy/mousy. Could I do your red dye trick after this fades a little and then re-dye? What’s your opinion? Thanks!

    • Christy

      Hi Meg… sorry to hear the color isn’t turning out as you’d like! I think what I would do is first dye it with the semi-permanent red, and see if you like the way that looks. If not, then you can dye over the whole thing with the permanent dye in the color you want, and you should be in a better position. If you’re looking for something a little less extreme, you could try dying your hair with the semi-permanent dye in a shade that’s as dark as your roots, but in a golden color to brighten up the length. I think that should even out your color pretty well, but could result in slightly brassy roots. However, since it’s just one step with the semi-perm dye, it’s not too risky. Would love to hear what you end up doing! Sorry for the late reply, I was on the road this week.

  • Belle

    I dyed my hair a hot pink, which has now faded to a cotton candy pink, and I want to go back to my natural black hair color. I’d rather not bleach it again, and I’m afraid that if I add dye straight to my pink hair, it will turn an ugly color. But I’ve bleached my hair twice in the past few months, and I really do not want to bleach it again. Any suggestions?

    • Christy

      Hi Belle,

      You certainly do not need to bleach it again if you’re just looking to go darker. Especially since your hair has some pink in it, you might be fine to just go straight to the black. If you’ve got the time or money, I’d consider doing one extra step: dye your hair a reddish semi-permanent color before going to the black, just to really make sure it doesn’t get ashy. I’d choose a medium or dark red from Clairol Natural Instincts. This will also strengthen your hair a bit, so you can begin recovering from any bleach damage =)

  • I dyed the tips of my hair a dark blue about a week ago and now it’s faded to a tealish sort of green. I want to go back to my natural hair color which is almost a golden color. How can I do that? Should I bleach the tips and then dye over them a color close to my natural golden hair color?

    • Christy

      Hi, Jay. This is a pretty tough one! I first recommend trying to get as much of the color out of your hair as possible: wash with a Clarifying shampoo or carefully with a bit of laundry detergent, using hot water. Had you bleached your hair before putting in color? If not, I would not start bleaching or adding any more dye, and just keep trying to wash it out. If your hair has already been bleached, then try to get the remaining color out using the least amount of bleach possible. Next, I recommend dying your tips with Clairol Natural Instincts Spiced Tea so your hair doesn’t turn green. Then dye the tips (plus just a little higher) with a permanent dye that matches your natural hair as much as possible. Make sure it’s a golden or warm color! Good luck!

  • Abigail

    Hi, i have a natural dirty blonde colour, i’ve been lightening it to baby blonde for about 5years (home dye) – i’m wanting to go a kind of light copper/auburn – think Isla Fisher.

    Will it turn out really orange since my hair is quite light? I want to be natural coloured ginger, not neon-carrot! Thanks

    • Christy

      Hi Abigail! Since your hair is light right now, when you dye your hair, it should turn out very similar to what is on the box. I’d choose the box color you like best and go for it. However, since your natural hair is a bit darker, make sure the color you choose is at least as dark as your natural hair color, or else you’ll have to continuously lighten and then dye your roots as you go. Have fun!

  • A1yssa

    Hi Christy, s0rry f0r the weird typing but my 1apt0p has s0me keys that d0n’t w0rk
    I have been b1eaching my hair f0r ab0ut a year, I think in that time I have app1ied b1each 4 times? basica11y every 3 m0nths
    I fina11y decided that I d0n’t want t0 ever be b10nde again, I never 10ved it that much and it never 100ked as g00d as the first time I did it anyway
    h0wever, n0t kn0wing any better, I reb1eached my wh01e head every time I b1eached
    My hair is n0t as damaged as y0u w0u1d think, it is sti11 pretty str0ng and n0t breaking, but I think it’s dry and the texture has changed- it is very 1ight and f1yaway and it cur1s s0me which it has never d0ne bef0re
    the maj0rity 0f the 1ength was virtua11y c010r1ess, and the r00ts were my natura1 medium br0wn when I b0ught a medium br0wn permanent dye and dyed it
    At first I was rea11y happy with the dye j0b, but in just a week it has faded a 10t and n0w it 100ks kind 0f ashy and much 1ighter than the r00ts
    D0 y0u kn0w anyway t0 get my 0verb1eached hair t0 h01d a darker shade? W0u1d redyeing it he1p it keep c010r 0r wi11 it just fade in a week again? Thanks!

  • Christy

    Hi Alyssa,
    Bummer on the keyboard, but you seem to be doing pretty well with it! I would definitely recommend the two-part dying process I describe in the blog post—first use an ammonia-free dye in a red color (I would use a medium red, not a dark red), and then dye your hair the medium brown color you want. The ammonia-free dye coats your damaged hair and fills it in with the red that your hair needs to combat the ashy-ness, and then you’re set to dye it the color you want.
    It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve bleached my hair, but I still have 6 inches of that previously-bleached hair because I’m growing my hair long. It did more damage than I realized, and I often have to go in and cut out the split ends. Also, I have to dye that part of my hair once or twice a year because the color fades to gold blonde (which has a really nice ombre effect that I happen to like in the summer). I usually use an ammonia-free medium brown in the winter to cover up the previously-bleached stuff.
    Good luck! Even after you get the color to take, remember to be gentle with your hair, as it will probably break easily. I’d try to switch to claw clips instead of rubber bands, and you can soak your hair in coconut oil before showering to strengthen it up a bit.

  • casey

    My hair is bleach blonde on top & brown on bottom i wanna dye it auburn any clue how to do it?

    • Christy

      Hey Casey. I’d first dye the blonde parts to match the brown parts, so when you go for auburn, it’ll look more even. Do my two-step process on the blonde parts: first dye it with an ammonia-free dye in a reddish color, then dye over it with a brown permanent dye. Then you can go ahead and dye the auburn over the entire thing. My recommendation would be to use an ammonia-free dye (like Natural Instincts) in the exact color you want your hair to be. These dyes are more like a “coating” on your hair, and do a really nice job of enhancing the color in whatever hue you’re looking for.

  • Brenda

    I dyed my hair a light beige blonde then two days later I put some champagne lights in all over the problem my hair was orange with yellow I lights then went to Sally’s the lady told my to try this high lift ash blonde. Now my hair is real yellow on top and light orange on ends. Can I dye it a brown to cover this mess?

    • Christy

      Hi Brenda, sorry you’re going through such a hassle! If you want to cover it up, I’d dye it all with a light red ammonia-free dye, to make sure there’s enough color in your hair, and then dye permanent brown over it. I think you’d be best using a neutral brown color, not golden or ash. And you can still choose a light brown or dark blonde, as long as it’s overall a bit darker than the color your hair is now.

    • Brenda

      Ok I’ll try that. Like what shade of red or does it matter

    • Christy

      I’ve gotten Natural Instincts Spiced Tea before: click here to see it. It turns out like a very light pink (like my photo above), because its purpose is just to get a bit of red color in your hair, which has been stripped out. You can dye your brown right over it.

  • Brenda

    One more thing could I use a dark blonde to cover it without the red dye?

    • Christy

      I’d still use the light red dye, to neutralize everything you’ve already done to your hair. Stripping & layering hair color can sometimes lead to green hair, and adding in a bit of red counteracts that. It’ll take less than an hour, and it gives you the peace of mind that your hair won’t come out too crazy. Make sure it’s the lightest red you can get, though, because the brown/blonde you choose to go over it needs to be just a bit darker.

  • Brenda

    Okay thanks I’ll try that

  • Brenda

    Hi christy Okay I got the dye spiced tea did a strand test it turned out more like dark orange then pink how long did u leave it on

  • Britt

    Hey Christy! I have a major bleached disaster on my head. Instead of turning out blonde my hair is a yucky golden yellowish orange mess. I have to do something by Friday when I am scheduled to go back to work. I need a dye or rinse that wont turn my hair green and will turn out right on top of my bleached mess. Like a nice rich brown or auburn maybe. Any suggestions? What should I do?

    • Christy

      Hi Britt! What were you going for with the bleach? Was your hair very dark naturally or because of dye? It actually sounds like you could bleach your hair more, if you were trying to lighten it. I took my hair from (natural) light brown to platinum white with about 2 hours of bleaching with Manic Panic Flashlightning. There’s a chance you can still get the color you wanted, if you’re not afraid to keep bleaching.
      HOWEVER, it’s much safer to just correct the color you’ve got now. I’d do the two steps described in the blog post. By dying your hair with the light red semi-permanent dye first, you’re guaranteeing that your hair won’t turn green. You can choose any color permanent dye you want, as long as it’s darker in tone than your hair is now, and it isn’t Cool or Ash. It should go on pretty similarly to how it looks on the box, but it’ll fade after a few months, and you may have to reapply the permanent color.

  • Britt

    I was going for “honey blonde” My hair is naturally dark brown. almost black. I meant to bleach it lighter to dye my hair the honey blonde color but instead after the bleach and dye I now look like a complete fool. I’d rather not bleach it any further. Luckily my hair didn’t sustain any damage from the bleaching and I’d like to keep it that way. I’d rather just dye it. I know for sure I’ll go with some sort of brown. Will any kind of red semi-permanent color work? or is there a certain shade you would recommend?

  • Morgan

    I’ve been dying my hair black for about a year, when I did my last dye, I let the black start growing out and stupidly dyed my light brown roots a brown! Tonight I bleached my entire head (first time ever bleaching) and the bottom half turned a pretty brown and the top part (my roots) agree platinum and yellow! I can using a protein on if right now before redying , I have a dark brown permanent that I’m mixing with a 20! Will I be ok to put the dark brown over all of my hair?

    • Christy

      Hi Morgan! Before you dye your hair brown, you should dye the roots that are platinum/yellow with a semi-permanent dye in a light red color, such as Clairol Natural Instincts Spiced Tea. This will prevent your roots from having a green overcast when you dye your hair brown. Good luck!

  • Morgan

    I just sent my boyfriend to buy me some anf he has been to 3 stores andvacantfind anyone who sells semi permanent. Where do I find this?

    • Christy

      In the US, Clairol Natural Instincts and Garnier HerbaShine are semi/non-permanent. He can also look for anything labeled “ammonia free”.

  • ashley

    Hi, I bleached my natural blonde hair and now I want to go back, how would I do that? If I dye my hair with a box dye will it work?

  • Carrie

    Your blog is the first place I have found good info! Thank you. I am hoping you can help me. My daughter had the most beautiful strawberry blonde hair and decided to go pink. We bleached her hair and dyed Manic Panic cotton candy and yellow bangs. we’ve been touching up for a few months a was very pretty for awhile, but now its fading and not redying as well and she’s decided she wants to go back to natural and let her hair repair. I’ve been trying to find the best way to do this without rebleaching her hair. She has bright yellow bangs and fading pink over the rest. What do you think would be best way to get back to a strawberry blonde or lighter brown. She naturally had a lot of red so ash colors never work. Would appreciate your opinion. Thanks!

    • Christy

      Hi Carrie! I’d try to get as much as the Manic Panic out of her hair without bleach first. You could buy a Clarifying shampoo, wash with hot water, and condition with an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (I use a spray bottle of half ACV and half water, just spritz it in my hair) for a week or so. That should get the majority of the color out, and then you can begin dying over it. She may want to try the Clairol Natural Instincts Spiced Tea first, see if that’s enough, and then if she wants it darker, go for a permanent dye in the color you want. I’ve done the pink and yellow combo myself, so I know how fun it is while you have it, but it does get old pretty quickly =) Good luck!

  • Hey I have seen this asked a couple of times but wanted to ask anyway because I just couldn’t stand to not have my hair turn out right. I’m wanting a dark auburn, bordering on burgundy. I went and talked to a stylist today and she plans to use wella (which I don’t like) and was just going to slap on like a 3 or 5 rv right over the bleached hair. My hair was bleached to blonde from dark brown about a month ago and right now I’ve got it covered with a 7n. I tested a 3rv at the back of my head and it was straight purple, so I don’t really trust this stylists plan and I would rather do it m yself at home. I was also wondering if you thought. Brazilian blowout would help stop fading so that my hair can get a rest from all this dye… I take pride in my healthy hair and I don’t want to risk it.

    • Christy

      Hi Kate! It sounds like you are much more advanced than I am =) I’m purely trial-and-error and just accept whatever results I get! I would just use a red over the bleach to make sure your hair follicles have some color in them, and then you can dye your hair the color your want.

  • Nettie

    Wow, thanks for actually providing helpful info on adding color back to bleached hair! I’ve been searching all over, with no luck until I found this.
    I’ve read everything, including the comments, and I just have one question.
    I bleached my naturally medium-blonde hair last week, but I ignorantly left the bleach on way too long, and ended up stripping all color out! I have albino white hair now, and it’s awful. Obviously, I want to darken it to some semblance of actual blonde hair (preferably light blonde, which is what I was going for initially when I bleached.
    Do you think your recommendation here will work on albino-white hair? I’m afraid in my case it might actually turn out pink pink, instead of just the pink tone you got on your bleached hair. And then, what color would you recommend over that, to achieve some sort of blonde color? I don’t want dark blonde (but I’ll take anything over this white mess!), I’m actually hoping for light blonde if I can manage it.

    • Christy

      Hi, Nettie. Oops! I’m a big fan of stripped-white hair, but I understand how it’d be pretty shocking if that wasn’t what you were going for. I think you should still go for the Spiced Tea red dye, but don’t leave it in very long. Maybe 5 minutes or so. My hair was completely stripped white when I put in the Spiced Tea color, and I probably left it in at least 15 minutes. Just put it in real quick so that your hair has a bit of coating on it. Then I’d go ahead an use a permanent dye to dye it the color you actually wanted. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

  • Nettie

    Yes, “shocking” is a good description. :) If you’re a fan of white hair, then you would really like my hair right now, haha! I think my problem with this color on me is that I’m very, very light skinned with pink undertones, and with my hair this white, I actually could pass for an albino. Not the look I was wanting. lol!
    Thanks so much for your tips. I’m completely clueless (which is how one should always go about bleaching/coloring their hair at home, isn’t it? hahaha), so it’s very helpful! I hope to try it this weekend.

  • Marlene

    After dying your hair with the natural spiced tea color, how long do you have to wait to dye it brown??

    • Christy

      Since Natural Instincts is ammonia-free, you can do the permanent color right away if you want. If you can wait overnight, that’s probably helpful, but it’s not too big of a deal.

  • Amanda

    I have medium rich brown hair naturally, but I wanted to go blonde. I bleached my hair and decided I didn’t like it. So I dyed it a medium natural blonde. Would I still need to dye it red for my brown dye to stay or could I use a medium golden brown, or a medium golden mahogany brown, or mix the golden brown with the golden mahogany brown? Thanks

  • Elise

    I really messed up my hair. I bleached it and dyed it bright red with a dye/stain called splat a few months ago. I tried to bleach out the red in a strand of hair but it wouldn’t work because splat is a stain. S I found online that you can pull out color by washing your hair with laundry detergent so I did and now it’s really dry and like a murky pinkish color won some really light spots. It actually looks like your hair in the second picture. Do you think I’d be okay going over it with a dark brown ammonia free dye like Garnier Olia? Or would it patch in the lighter spots? Please help me I have vacation on Saturday and I don’t want to go looking like this :( ((

  • lauren

    Hi… I recently bleached my hair. My roots to my ears are platinum white blonde but from ear to tip is a nice caramel colour with tones of blonde. How would i get my roots to match my ends im after a golden, caramel colour thankyou

  • regina

    Came across your blog on pinterest…….i LOVE YOU!!!! i had bleach blonde street walker hair…it was bad and growing out. I did what u said and i love my hair. Cost me only $20 compared to salon price. I got med red instead of light (thats all they had), hair turned a horrible red/pink (which was expected) then did a dark brown. I know have pretty reddish brown hair. I can go out in public:) thank you for helping mr turn my nadty looking hair to something i am extremly happy with!! Thsnk you thank you!z

  • Esther

    Hello! I bleached my hair about a week ago and it turned out a sort of yellow/orange color that I can’t stand. Today, I tried to dye it back to my natural dirty blonde, but nothing happened! I’m still the gross yellow/orange. Would your method be something you’d recommend for me?

  • danielle

    Hi there, I bleached my hair using Clairol born blonde Max strength hoping to get platinum blonde but it turned a weird yellow color. I’m wanting to go back to brown so do you think I should do the semi permanent red then the brown?

  • Alisha

    Hi Cristy! I love this blog and all of the useful information posted here! This is awesome… and very reassuring :) Now, I tried that Ombre style and did it myself. I have about a good 3-4 inches of natural dark brown roots but from my mouth to my ends (at least 12 inches!) I bleached (twice) to a nice golden blonde (about an 8G with 10N highlights from previous hair style). BUT the 2-tone look is not for me. I want to dye ALL of my hair a light golden brown(maybe a 6 or 7G). Should I use the red semi-perm all over or only on my 12 inches of bleached ends? Then, I can dye ALL of it roots-ends in the light golden brown, right? I love your advice, maybe you have some for me. What do you think? I love the golden tones in the brown dyes, do you think I’ll get an uneven effect since only half of my hair is bleached and the rest isn’t? How can I avoid the uneven-ness?
    Thanks a BUNCH in advance! :)

  • Ingrid

    Hi, I did the ombre effect on my hair and now I am bored of it. The rest of my hair is the ‘Black Cherry’ dark red colour by loreal or something, and the bleached bits are kind of a gingery/light brown colour. I’m wanting to do my whole head the dark red colour. Will it work if I just leave the colour on the bleached hair for a bit longer and then do the rest or will I need to do the semi-permanent red first?
    Thanks

  • Nadine

    Hey, i bleached my roots and they look horrendous, too white. The rest of my hair is blonde/brown. Would I be able to just put a brown dye straight over it? I have been deep conditioning my hair and I’m getting it could short to make it healthy and easier to control as my hair is very long and very very thick. I don’t really want to put any red into my hair as I have done that before and it took ages to get it out. Thank you in advance :)

  • Wish I had read this before I colored! I now have two different shades of brown and its extremely ashy on the bottom. What should I do? Im a single mom and CANT afford to go to salon.

    • Christy

      Hi, Sara! How bad is the line between the two browns? If it’s not a drastic line, I think I’d dye all of your hair with Natural Instincts, using either a warm or reddish brown. You could try just dye-ing the ashy part with a reddish semi-permanent color if the line is pretty dramatic, and then using another semi-permanent dye over that one in a neutral/warm color.

  • Michelle

    Hi Christy. I tried to touch up my roots yesterday. At first it turned brassy orange and now it’s yellow. The ends of my hair are blonde but it was done professionally as highlights. I think I want to do the ombre style now and dye my roots (top layer of hair) a dark blonde/very light brown. Will your method work for me? If so, what color permanent die do you think I should get?

  • I recently dyed my hair and it turned out reddish-brown which turns out to be more red than brown. With school a month away, I really don’t want to spend my senior year with this hair. How do I turn it a dark brown color without turning it green or orange?

  • Rosemary

    Hi! I did this and it worked out really well Thanks for saving my butt!

    R

  • Hey I just bleached my frens hair .. it came out orangy tips & yellow roots , her natural hair color was darkest brown will this work to get it bcc brown b/c this was a disaster?

    • Christy

      Yes! I’d dye it first with a semi-permanent reddish color like the Natural Instincts Spiced Tea and then use a permanent color dye in the color she wants. It may have a slight gradient to it if there was a huge difference between the roots and the ends. You could try doing a third dye in a semi-permanent Natural Instincts brown to dye the root area if it’s too light still.

  • Emily

    Hey Christy, I just bleached my hair and it is exactly like Dev’s situation I had very dark brown hair but now its yellowy/orange and I want to dye it a dark auburn tomorrow, should I do the two step process or can go straight to the permanent color without it turning a weird color

    • Christy

      I would do the two-step process for safety’s sake, it would be much harder to fix after the fact. And by doing the two steps, it might even out the differences between the yellow and the orange a bit. Good luck!

    • Emily

      OK thanks soo much!

  • My daughter had bleached blonde hair with medium red roots grow.n out about two inches. In trying to get back to her natural color medium red we used LOreal light reddish blonde with 20 developer? It came out a light pinkish blonde. So we then tried dark reddish brown with 20 developer. The roots look great as does the underneath hair, but did not cover the bleached hair it looks light purple. Help.

    • Christy

      Hey Suzi. As far as I know, developer is used for lightening hair, not darkening it. Since your daughter’s hair is no longer white, and is a purple-ish color, you can go straight to dying it the color she wants it to be with a permanent dye. I’m a fan of Clairol Nice N Easy. If you can find a color that’s close to what the roots look like, you can just apply the color to the light-colored hair to try to avoid harsh lines as it grows out. You may have to touch it up once-a-month for a few months. In my experience, the color takes well, and I like the way it fades.

  • Gemma

    Hello ~
    My hair has been bleached about 5 times in the last 3 months!
    I last bleached my hair only about a week ago. It is quite damaged and dry from it being bleached over and over in a short space of time as you can imagine.
    I now want it light brown like yours in the first photo ! (it is like my natural colour)
    Should I just follow the steps you have given?? Also, when the colour starts to fade Do I use both the semi-permanent ammonia-free hair dye in a light reddish color AND a permanent hair dye or just one of them?
    Would be greateful for any advice! thank you

    • Christy

      Hi Gemma! Yes, you should be fine with the steps I gave. When the color starts to fade, you can just do the permanent hair dye. However, if your hair is feeling really weak, you may want to do the semi-permanent as well to strengthen it up.

  • kirsty

    Hi ive been bleaching my hair for a few months now.and i really.want my hair back brown what should i do please help, my natural hair colour is quite a dark brown like a hazlenut colour but im wanting the colour like yours ive been told i can put a mahogany browny red colour on my hair is this true but i havebt seen any mahoganys to be semi permanent in the uk can i usd permanent n then put a second permanent brown hair die on top, pleaze help i just want brown hair blonde has ruined me :’(

    • Christy

      Hi Kirsty! The semi-permanent dye is just to put some color back into your hair and to prep it for the color you want to dye it. I like to use ammonia-free because it causes less damage. You could also just dye your hair twice—once with a reddish color just to deposit color back into your hair, and the second time with the color you want your hair to end up. Hope that helps!

  • kirsty

    By the way the blonde i have been using is called smart beauty and is blonde but it is ammonia fres if this helps me adding thus piece of info to my question

  • Rebecca

    Hi Christy,

    I have very damaged bleached hair. I’ve bleached my full head twice in the last 2 years and now it is very sponge like. Almost like wet spaghetti. I now want to get rid of the pink in my hair and go back to as close as possible to my natural light brown (or darker). The maintenance is too much! My concern is, if I choose to color my hair with this product, even though it is ammonia free – will this cause further damage? I’m scared that if I go through with it I’ll lose all of my hair from further breakage. Any insigh would be great. A big thank you in advance! Cheers

    • Christy

      Hi Rebecca! Sorry for the slow reply. Ammonia-free dyes often market themselves as being *good* for your hair… I don’t know if that’s actually the case, but they do strengthen your hair by filling in the holes created by damage. I definitely know that stringy, elastic feeling from bleaching your hair, and the ammonia-free dye definitely helps with that. If you already have red in your hair, and it’s very damaged, I would just use a medium brown ammonia-free dye on your hair. It’ll require some maintenance every couple of months, but it will strengthen your hair and get you out of the cycle! Good luck!

  • Nicci

    Hi Christy!!

    Need some help, I want a change from my straight white platinum hair so I tried auburn. It was red and stayed that way for about 4 days until my blonde started to shine thru. Naturally my hair is dark golden blonde almost similar to blake lively, I’m so upset with this reddish mauve color my hair is turning and just want my natural. Is it possible to go back to golden blonde from this current color?!?

    • Christy

      Hey Nicci! This seems like a huge challenge, I’d love to know if you’ve been working on it or how it’s turned out. It’s probably best left to professionals, but if you don’t mind the risk, you may be able to get to a color you’re happy with. I’d try shampooing with a Cleansing shampoo (I like the VO5 cleansing shampoo), to try to get some more of that auburn dye out. You can skip the reddish semi-permanent since you already have plenty of red in your hair, and then try a permanent dye in the color you’re looking for. You may have to go with a light golden brown or a dark golden blonde to actually cover the color you have, but I think it should take care of a lot of the red undertones. Good luck!!

  • Hey Christy, i have very damaged platinum blonde hair. I love being a blonde, but I’d like to go to a darker golden blonde. Can I dye it red, and then dye it golden blonde without a problem?

    • Christy

      Hi Tori! In your case, since you want to stay blonde, I think I’d just use the Spiced Tea dye very quickly, and then go to the golden blonde. It might have slight twinges of red in it, but I think that’s better than risking green undertones.

  • hi Christy I have bleached hair and trying to go back to brown.im going to try your advise and try the spiced tea first then was wondering if i could use reddish brown for the permament color or should I use the neautral light brown?? ive tried dying it with brown but the color wouldn’t take.. and thank you for all your tips to help people out!!!

    • Christy

      Hi Deb! Yes, I think doing the spiced tea will help the brown color hold. Mine faded every 2 months or so, but I liked the way it looked and would only touch it up in the winter =)

  • I bleached my hair about a month ago and now I’m wanting to go to Dark Mahogany Brown. It’s ammonia free. Is it too risky?

    • Christy

      I’d say go for it! I’ve always found my hair to feel a bit stronger after coating it with ammonia-free dye.

  • My daughter bleached the bottom of her hair, now it is a yellow golden color. She wants her hair blonde on the bottom and black on top. Now after the bleaching can she get a blonde hair dye (in box) to get a more blonde look?

    • Christy

      If the blonde part is as light as she wants, then she should use a toner to take some of the gold out and neutralizer. I used to use the Manic Panic Virgin Snow one. You can get a blonde toner at Sally Beauty Supply, and they usually look purple. If the golden blonde is not as light as she wants it to be, she may have to bleach it a bit more, and then tone it to take out the yellow.

  • Thanks so much for this info! I had my hair done “ombre” at a beauty school (Aveda) and it turned out too light on the bottom without much transitional shading. I don’t like it! My natural color is medium to dark brown with a few grays and the bottom half of my hair is golden blonde. Money is tight and I already have a Natural Instincts Cinnaberry (Medium Auburn). Would that be okay to use instead of the Spiced Tea? I also have a Nice ‘N Easy Natural Light Ash Brown. I can either use that over it or I was thinking of buying a L’Oreal Excellence Medium Brown. What would you suggest? Thanks again!

    • Christy

      Hi Kat, it depends on which look you’re going for. Either way, I would use the Cinnaberry over the golden blonde first. If you want the bottom of your hair to be a bit lighter, you could use the Light Ash Brown next (and probably cover more than just the bottom section). Or if you want to even it out, you could dye all your hair with the Medium Brown. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, I’d go for the light ash brown just because I’m in the summer spirit!

  • Thank you so much for the reply! I feel more confident experimenting now!

  • Karina

    Hello Christy,
    First I went to a stylist asking her for an ombre style on my hair but she ended it doing very light highlights which I hate it, never like it. Of course she knew it and I think she did it on purposed. Anyways, so I went with another stylist and she made my ombre. She needed to bleach my hair to fix highlights. The problem here it turned super blonde which I regret it. I don’t feel natural I feel a fake blonde and I hate it, so does my husband and I feel very sad wondering If I can do something myself to make it at least light brown since my hair is dark brown. I don’t want to ruin my hair more than it is now. This is my fisrt time I bleached and dye my hair. My hair is curly natural but I felt my curls are going down. I want to do something to feel happy and natural without damage my hair more. I read it can turn green and so on.I am desperate. I wish I never did this to my hair. Please advise. What to do and How long I need to wait before doing what you are going to recommend to me since I just went with the second stylist yesterday. Thanks in advance for your time and help.
    Karina

  • Chrissy

    Hey Christy! Cool name btw ;) I have dark brown as my natural hair color. Two months ago I bleached my bangs & underneathe then colored it blue & purple. It was awesome for summer but now it’s time to go to college & I want to take it out. Any suggestions on how to take it out without it coming back?

  • Bobbie

    Christy
    My daughter had her hair dark purple & now it has faded to a light pink/purple color. She wants to go back to a light brown. Should I still use both dyes since she is already lt purple?

  • Gemma

    Hi, if I were to get blonde highlights through after doing this process would it turn they red again ? Thanks in advance

  • Sarah

    Hi, so I did ombré on the tips of my hair. I have brown colored hair but I colored the tips blonde and I don’t like it as much as I thought I would, is there anyway I could get rid of the blonde tips and go back to my regular color without cutting it off? Thanks so much!

  • Bianca

    Hey! I love this, thank you. But I am wondering, how can I help my fiance with his hair situation? We both went blonde. My color turned out to be a dirty blonde but his is kind of yellow orange and he hates it. He naturally has dark brown hair with natural reddish highlights and lowlights. He does not want to damage his hair anymore but wants his natural color back without having to get jet black or his hair turning more orange or even green. What should he do? Is there a type of dye that looks more natural? Like with his highlights and whatnot?

  • Kaitlyn

    Hi Christy! So about 2 weeks ago I attempted to dye my light-medium brown hair blonde with an ammonia-free boxed dye. The result: orange roots and nothing else! So 4 days later I went to the salon to try and get my hair the blonde I initially wanted. Well, after bleaching it and adding a toner it ended up being yellow and has now gone to a slight strawberry-blonde, which just looks awful! I start school in a week and I know I should wait to avoid more damage but I have to fix this! Since I have red undertones in my hair do you think I could just get a dye from Sally’s and turn it brown again? Or will it come out an awful shade of orange or worse, green, if I do that?

  • This it great and I’m temped to try it! Can I buy the ammonia at my local drug store?

  • Hey Christy! You’re awesome for answering so many people’s hair problems. We’re in this together! So heres my problem: I had my hair professionally bleached so I could die over it with a purple Manic Panic. I’ve been dying different versions of blue and purple for a few months without bleaching my roots (I will never lighten so much ever again!) I haven’t used Manic for a few months. My hair is now faded to a light pinkish purple with around 3 inches of medium dark brown regrowth (virgin). My goal is to achieve an even, bright primary red all over without having to bleach again. I’ve read great things about Loreal Hicolor Hilights in Red (permanant) to achieve red on dark hair without prebleaching, but I am confused as to if I should apply this dye to the lightened, tinted ends. Should I use a red manic panic on the bottom and then the Loreal on the roots? Which comes first? Or should I use your method of the semi-perm spiced color first all over and then the loreal all over? I would like to avoid using a damaging dyes on the bleached part of my hair, unless its the only way to get an even color from root to tip. Thanks for the help!

  • I recently, at the end of June got highlights and I am just ready to go back to a solid brown! Should I use a medium or dark brown to go over it all? Do I need to do any specific steps??

  • Meagan

    Hi, I put bleach highlights in my hair about 2 months ago now I have about 4 inches of my natural hair and the rest is a mix of brown and blonde highlights do I still need to do the red or can I just put a color over i¿ I Would like to use a dark blonde for my hair color thats the closest to my roots!

  • Valerie

    Thanks soooo much for saving me 200 bucks! Crazy hair stylist charged me 300 bucks for a horrible uneven bleached blonde job and then was going to charge me again to go back to brown!!! You saved me!

  • hey christy.well i died my hair really blonde it looks pretty and all but i want my old hair color back for the fall and winter.plus i want it to be healthier and i do a lot of heat damage to my hair and i dont wont my hair to end up getting fried.because now when if i dont wash my hair it doesnt get gresy at all.it gets dryer and dryer.my moms hair is awfully fried from dying it and i just dont want it to end up like that and i’ll be perfectly fine with my naturaul hair color.but its like a dirty ashy blonde.so would it turn green?

  • Casey

    I just used Clairol Natural Instincts 22 (medium auburn brown) over my bleached-white hair and bleached-golden/orange roots and it came out dark red. Not my intention, but it’s pretty awesome nonetheless and I’ll be keeping it for a while if I can. So thanks for giving me the courage to try it instead of going to a salon!

  • Celine

    Hey!
    I went to a salon yesterday and had an “ombre” done on my natural black hair… it is day 2 and after my curls washed out I can fully see the mess that is my hair. The blond is a mix between yellow and copper and orange and completely clashes with my asian skin tone. Also, with a section of my hair, there is a clear distinct line where my natural hair ends and the blond begins… no blending. I have no idea how to fix this without spending tons of money at a salon! Any suggestions?

  • Jazmine

    hey Ive been bleaching my hair to a very light blonde for about 2 years now and my natural colour is a dark brown almost black. Atm I have very bad regrowth and dont really want to bleach my hair again seeing as its pretty damaged now. I was looking at ur advice on dying it back to brown and I have a couple of questions.
    Could I use a dark red semi perminant and then a chocolate brown permenant dye ?
    Also because my roots are soo dark im worried that if i get the same colour dye it will turn green even with putting the red in first ?
    and would it be possible to dye it with the semi perminent red and then maybe put a perminent reddy brown colour over the top??

  • Paula

    hi, i have platinum bleached blonde hair atm n want to go back to my natural colour of lighter than medium blonde but not light blonde, how do i do it?? lol i really need help please coz my last attempt turned my hair violet

  • jenny

    Hi, Ive been having my medium brown hair colored very close to its natural color to cover grays for a few years. Today I decided to lighten it (professionally) and I hate it. They bleaches all over to get my hair a few shades lighter then put an all over golden mocha color then put a few blonde highlights. Its far from blonde but is a reddish almost orangish dark blonde shade. I want to color over it myself, back to medium brown. Do I need to use a red first?

  • Joanne

    Hi Christy, could you give me advise? I’m about to strip the brown and red from my bleached hair and tinted roots. I want to use loreal preference feria P37 (intense dark red). I would like end up with the same red as Ariana Grande. Once I’ve stripped my hair, which semi colour do you recommend I use b4 I put the permanent feria in?

    • Christy

      Hi Joanne! Sounds like it will be lovely! I would say, I don’t think you’ll need to strip your hair *too* much, since you’ll be dying red over it. I definitely wouldn’t take it all the way to white if you’ve bleached it before. You may not actually need to use a semi-permanent dye, since you’re dying your hair red (and therefore don’t need to worry about green tones). I would just bleach your hair slightly and then go straight to the L’Oreal Preference. I’m jealous! I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  • Hi Christy-
    I am so glad I found your blog! I have naturally dirty blonde hair that was pretty bleached out. I decided it was time for a change and wanted to go a dark blonde. I used Loreal Natural Instincts in Rasberry creme for the red (that was the lightest red color I could find in non-permanent. The second step color I used was Garnier Olia in dark blonde. I definitely don’t have any grey or green but still pretty red. Since step one (the red) was a wash out color, will the red tone down after I wash it more? Although, I kind of like the change, I am wondering if I should try to color it dark blonde again, if the red doesn’t wash out. Thanks for your help!

  • Shinae

    Hi christy,
    A few months ago I ombré did my hair with my roots obviously being a darker brown and my ends being blonde but I am finding it to hard to maintain so wanted to go back to my natural dark brown. Do you have any ideas? Should I do the two step process?

    Thanks

  • Hi Christy, I went back to bleached blonde, but since I’m growing out my pixie, I want to limit the damage to my hair and go back towards what I guess is dishwater blonde, or at least a medium blonde. My hair picks up red easily but I dislike red hues with my fair skin. I’d a appreciate your feedback regarding the semi red co,or you talk about as I don’t want the final blonde to be reddish. Also, what color for the permanent medium blonde? Thanks and I’m going to rock whatever cones out, even though I have to face my colleagues and students soon. :)

    • Christy

      Hey Jess, I’d still do the spiced tea (light red semi-permanent) before the medium blonde, but I would just put the dye on for a very short amount of time (between 5 and 10 minutes). Then go ahead and dye your hair the exact blonde you want it to be!

  • Hi I have natural brown hair and died it at home blonde. It looked ok but I couldn’t get use to it so I then died it a deep auburn red that looked amazing it’s still pretty dark but I just want to go back to my natural light brown ..I do not want to bleach it again but the red is still kind of dark any suggestions?

    • Christy

      Hey Brittanie! To minimize the damage, I would start with washing your hair with a “clarifying” shampoo for awhile (I’ve used the cheap V07 one) which should start taking out the red. However, if you went from blonde to the deep auburn, it might look a little strange or orangey as it fades. After you’ve done that, I would recommend dying your hair with L’Oreal Healthy Choice dye. It is ammonia-free, but it also lightens your hair just a little bit, which should help take out the red. Choose a color that is the right shade of light brown, but go for “Ash” or “Neutral” to try to counteract the red. Good luck!

  • Ok Chrissy I followed everything and my hair looks good yor a life saver thanks so much:) one question I need help with how can I make my hair super shiney now I tried from Sally’s store a clear shiny semi application and still not much shine any suggestions?

  • Hi. Christy I followed your program on bleached to brown with great results Thanku so much! Now my hair does not have much shine can u suggest anything to make it super shiny glossier Please my hair needs it badly! Thanks :)

  • Courtney

    Hi Christy after having a nightmare experience at a salon I am left with the top half of my hair a yellow/orange/blonde mix and underneath is my natural color. Will your program work??? Im wanting to go to a light brown or dark blonde. Ive never used at home coloring products so im really weary of trying it and making it look worse than it does now. Thanks

    • Christy

      Hey Courtney, what’s your natural color? I’d use the light red spiced tea dye just on the bleached parts of your hair. If you’re trying to match everything to your natural color or going darker than your natural color, then I think you can just dye it all the same color. If you’re trying to take your natural color lighter, I’m not sure how to approach it. Maybe you bleach it a bit with developer, dye it all spiced tea and then dye it all dark blonde? This seems like a more complex problem than anything I’ve attempted =)

  • Courtney

    My natural color is a dark blonde/light brown. I want to get it all to match and get close to my natural or maybe a tad darker. I will probably try your program and cover all of my hair to try to blend it

  • Hi Christy , I recently bleached my hair and it turned like a platinum blonde so not knowing anything I dyed it black and now it is green . How can I get the green out and just go back to black? Pleasee help

    • Christy

      Hey Samantha, this should be fixable! From what I understand, it sounds like your hair is black with a green tint? I would use dye your hair with a semi-permanent dark red color, such as Natural Instincts Cinnaberry. It will not lighten your hair at all, it will just neutralize the green. Good luck!

  • Hi I’m trying to get my hair back to my medium/dark brown hair color after I have died it first with the born blonde and then an ash brown color which took out the copper and yellow so it’s now kind of a medium/dark blonde color I’d just rather go a little darker to match my roots again, will this work and what colors should I use? Can u help me?

    • Christy

      Charlie, if your hair has some color in it (if it isn’t white, and if it hasn’t turned green), then you are fine to just dye your hair the color you want it to be in one step.

  • Erica

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use a permanent red hair color instead of a semi-permanent one so that it doesn’t fade as quickly. Will that ruin the outcome of the hair color after I put brown?

    • Christy

      Hey Erica, I’m sure the color will turn out fine if you use permanent; the reason I chose semi-permanent is that I wanted to use an ammonia-free dye and minimize the damage done to my hair. I’m not sure how safe it would be to use two dyes with ammonia one right after another.

  • Candie

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! This is going to save my life and self esteem! My only question is ..I have 4 different colors in my hair.. My roots coming in.. Some left over pink in my bangs .. my bleached hair and then a golden blonde underneath. Will I be fine or do I need to fix this before I dye my hair darker and be a hot mess??????

    • Christy

      Hi Candie! It depends on how dark you’re going to dye your hair. I think if you’re going medium-dark brunette or darker, you’ll be fine. Otherwise, I think this is what I would do:
      1) Use a Clarifying Shampoo (such as VO5 Clarifying) to try to get as much of the pink out of your hair as possible.
      2) Dye the pink & bleached with ammonia-free red (like Natural Instincts Spiced Tea)
      3) Do an all-over dye with a color close to what your want, in an ammonia-free dye
      4) Do an all-over dye with the exact color your want in a permanent dye.

      This should do a pretty good job of safely evening out your hair color before you do the permanent color.

  • Candie

    Thank you for responding!!! I did your instructions However the semi permanent is a tad bit dark. :( I’m afraid to put in my “light brown” dye n just yet. I shall wait and wash it a couple times so it’s a little lighter. I appreciate you making this website!! Saved me a lot of time and money!! :)

  • Hi Christy, My hair is a dark brown (1B) and I have bleached highlights throughout all of my hair, I let the bleach sit on for about 15- 20 minutes so they didn’t come out pure blonde. They have a faded brassy blonde look to them. Now most of my hair is brown, just with bleached distributed all through out it, not like normal highlights. I am wondering can I dye my hair dark brown again and not have the bleached hair turn a weird color, such as green. Which I’ve done alot of reading and apparently it makes it turn a weird color, and I’m not risking that. And also will I have to dye it a lighter color first before dyeing it dark brown? And if I do have to dye it another color would you recommended red or light brown. Thanks

    • Christy

      Hi Ella, I would definitely use the ammonia-free dye on your hair in a red color first. It won’t actually lighten your hair, there’s no peroxide in it, it just adds almost a tinted clear coat. You may want to do Natural Instincts Cinnaberry instead of Spiced Tea, just to darken the hair a bit if you can. Once that red is in, the parts that were bleached should have enough color so they won’t turn green. Then you can dye your hair dark brown and it should look pretty even.

  • Thanks v much. I hope this works out (:

  • Original hair was black. I coloured it blinde and plat. Was aiming for white. Last week bleached my hair but now it is grey looking with white strands. Decided I should go back to natural black. Heard I should use red first. Called L’Oreal hotline. As I had a box of glossy black to use, but she advised not to use it over bleached hair. A friend said I should colour my hair red first. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Christy

      Did you go straight from black to white all in one go? That’s pretty intense! I think I took about 2 years gradually working my way up to white. Hopefully your hair is holding up all right enough to make it through this, I can’t guarantee it won’t completely fry it, but it’s probably good that it’s short now. To minimize more damage, I’d first dye your hair with Natural Instincts in Cinnaberry. I don’t think it will actually darken your hair much, but it will get the necessary red in there. Then you can dye the permanent black over that. Especially since you’re going so dark over hair without any color in it, it will probably fade pretty quickly. I would touch up with Natural Instincts Black (can’t remember the name) every 3-4 weeks to keep it dark and to avoid ammonia. Good luck!

  • Added note. I got my hair cut fairly short. Got the candy stage blonde cut off. Anxious to turn it back to black.,been deep conditioning my hair in the meantime.

  • Mikayla

    Hello Christy, I am wondering how long should I wait before dying my hair the permanent color after using the ammonia free hair dye? My hair is relaxed, can I put a deep conditioner on my hair then apply the dye to protect it.

  • Colleen

    Ok, I’m naturally blonde, but i decided to have a stylist lighten it so it would be super blonde. Well, I hate it! My hair looks orange now! Can I go over it with a medium blonde box color?? It has an orangy tint to it at the moment. If I use a natural or medium blonde box color will it make my hair a funky color?? Help! Thanks!

    • hey if it’s orangey and you’d like to remain bleach blond you will just need to use a toner. look up “Wella color charm white lady”. it just counteracts the orange tones with purple or blue. you can either ask the salon to tone it or go to a salon supply store and get the liquid toner (Wella #T18) and cream developer in the volume the box suggests. it may take more than one toning session to get all the orange and yellow out. you can get a mixing bowl, gloves, and a brush at the beauty supply store for cheap. if you want to keep the blonde I’d also recommend investing in some toning shampoo and conditioner. it’s purple and temporarily keeps the brassiness away in between toning touch ups.

  • Chrissy

    Hi Christy-

    I’ve read through just about all of these posts, so I probably have my answer but I thought I would go right to the source. My natural hair is very dark brown (I usually dye it black) but I recently decided to go blonde, so right now its pretty platinum all over and the dark roots that were recently bleached are more of a brassy color. I would like to go more of a light brown/gold highlight color or I could just go back to the dark natural color. I just want whatever would look best. For both options, I would have to go the light red first? Would any of the red be seen under the brown dyes? Thanks so much!

  • I have not seen anyone ask this yet…I have maybe a lift level 9 allllmost to a platinum 10 but I want to go red. I have maybe 1/2-1″ in root growth. I have a fiery red (I’ve always wanted a deep red! so why not now?) ammonia free demi-permanent dye (only uses 10volume developer). I have fairly short hair so the bottle will probably last me two dyes at least. my problem is, I don’t know whether the start at my roots and let them develop longer, or start at my ends? my confusion comes from not knowing which will absorb better. I have a neutral protein filler (which honestly you should edit your post so people know this exists – you dampen your hair, saturate with protein filler, dab off, then dye. it helps your hair hold the dye, instead of the color just slipping off the hair shaft) so I don’t know if I should use that and start at the ends because it will need to process longer to absorb the color, or will my roots need to process longer because the demi-permanent doesn’t lift any levels? I’m a dark ashy blonde. I feel like the blonde may come out a darkish red and the roots will be auburn which is really not what I want. I still have some bleach leftover and am tempted to do my roots again just for even coverage but my ends are so fried I don’t want to damage the virgin hair. where do I start??

  • Hi Chrissy.
    I have light brown roots with bleach blonde hair nearer the bottom. I want to go to a similar colour of which you did – light brown/ dark blonde. Do I need to do a semi permanent red, then a brown permanent on top – not ash?

    I just don’t want to go green! Also are any brands ok???

  • Emily

    Hi,
    I just had my hair professionally lightened from a dark brown/black to a lightish brown/dark blonde. I am kind of second guessing it and I think I might want to go back to dark. Is it possible to do this from home? Do I still have to do the light red step first if my hair isn’t bleach blonde right now? Any help you could give me would be appreciated! Thank you!

  • Johnd229

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  • hi Christy i have bleached blonde hair its very light some bits are even white and my roots are about 2 inchs long which are dark brown which is my natural colour, how could i go back to my natural colour or brown? thanks jade :)

  • Jordan

    I had my hair professionally colored a few months ago I went from mousy brown to blonde on top and dark brown underneath with dark brown bangs. The blonde is now turning a weird orange/yellowish color and has spots of brown showing through and I tried to color my roots myself instead of blonde they look more orange than anything. I really want to go dark brown all over. Any ideas on how to color it and it all be one color?

  • carol

    hi i have recentky had a slon completely strip the color from my hair with a severe detox treatment they then died my hair supposedly back to a medium brown but it is an awful orangy color. i need to get my hair back to a med to dark brown as soon as possible but am afraid that because of the harsh chemicals they used this is not possible can u help because i cant take this color another day

    • Christy

      Hi Carol,

      I’d recommend using a semi-permanent ammonia-free dye over your hair, in a neutral (not warm or cool), medium brown color, such as Clairol Natural Instincts in Hazelnut or Tweed, depending on how dark you want it. This will have the minimal amount of damage as well as coat your hair to make it stronger.

  • Mariah

    Hello!

    I recently bleached my auburn hair and after a few weeks i got tired of the blonde hair! I used a red filler and dyed it back, but now after a few days it has faded to a brassy and pink in some places color.. what should I do? I want to go back to a dark color!! Please help!!!

  • Gina Rae

    I’m 46 with very dark almost black hair full of gray. I’ve been bleaching my hair for more than 13 years. It’s fine. Damaged and dry. I need to go as dark as I can. If I use this method of dying red first how long do I wait before dying it dark?

  • Hi christy, I’m bleached blonde have been for many years, I feel now I’m getting older I need to go more golden, I’ve read your page and can see I need to use a red before a golden dye, (I do use a golden box dye now after I bleach my roots but don’t think it holds at all as the back of my hair looks really white) when I use your technique how do I make my roots blend when needed, I am quite dark and have always needed to bleach to get the results I need? Do I still bleach, then use red and then colour? Please help, thanks!

    • Christy

      Hi Lee, Since you’re staying within the blonde family, it’s not really necessary to do the red. As you do your roots, I would just bleach and then apply the golden blonde hair dye.

  • Hi Christy a few weeks ago I used frost and tip on the top layers of my brown hair and I didn’t like the drastic difference so I put a blonde dye on it to try and blend the top with the underneath and it turned reddish orange underneath I want to go back to dark brown do I need to put the red dye on first or can I go straight to brown? Thank You

    • Christy

      Hey Nice, since your hair has some color in it (and it isn’t completely stripped), you should be fine to go straight to brown. A neutral brown would be just fine!

  • Marie

    Hi Christy, I was so happy to find your site as I couldn’t seem to get any sensible advice anywhere.
    I have been bleaching my natural dark brown hair for over a year now – touching up the roots every 8 weeks or so using Nordic Blond.
    I have read your advice on going back to brown and managed to get my hands on the Nice n Easy Natural Lightest Brown but New Zealand does not sell the semi perm colour !!
    If I use a perm red first how long will I need to wait before applying the brown.
    I have a party coming up and only have @ 3days so a quick answer would really be appreciated. Many thanks

    • Christy

      Hi Marie, for the red, try to choose a product that does the least amount of damage possible. It shouldn’t have any peroxide or lightening agents, and it should just be color. Also, with the red, you don’t have to leave it on as long as the directions say. Just leave it on long enough for your hair to have *some* color in it before you use the brown. If you feel like your hair is pretty strong, maybe just an overnight between dyeings would be fine. I’d try to give it as much time between them as possible, just be aware of the damage you’re doing to your hair. Have fun at your party!

  • Marie

    Hi Christy,
    Thanks for the quick reply. Well I decided I didn’t have the time to use 2 perm colours safely so yesterday I just used the Natural Lightest Brown. It was rather scary especially when it started to turn a pinky red at my scalp !!! But I kept my nerve and it has turned out better than I thought. My head which was almost back to my natural colour is a lovely brown with coppery highlights. Parts of my length that were almost white have gone a dull brown colour – can only describe as stray dog brown ! The rest is a slightly browner colour but I don’t have any massive differences in shade/colour which is great. Next week I will put a richer brown on and hopefully get a better colour.
    Meanwhile THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart you have saved my hair and my sanity. Going to the party feeling good now. xxx

  • Natalie

    Hey,

    i think the advice is very helpful, as I cant afford salon prices at the moment.
    i am very happy to try this technique, but i have a good inch and a half of unbleached medium brown natural hair, shall i dye all of my hair the red then medium brown, or just the bleached blonde?
    Thanks

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  • Hi Christy I have a follow up on my previous post. I colored my hair back brown and it looks kinda orange please help what can I do?

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  • Jenny

    Bleached my hair with blue flash three days ago. Only problem is I hate the platinum look on me. My natural color is a dirty blonde but I have been a light blonde (box) for years. Can I just put a light blonde box dye over the now white hair?

  • Hi Christy,
    A few months ago I got highlights at a salon and hated it. Got y hair color corrected and it ended up being brassy. Dyed it back to brown at home. Which is where I should have kept it. Today once again I got highlights but this time I did them at home. Turned out brassy because of the color correction done a few months ago. Is it possible or even worth it to get a chocolate brown color again? Thanks for your advice.

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